In collaboration with Slate's photo blog, Behold, we are extending the conversation with some of their featured photographers.
Birthe Piontek has often tackled photography series that coincide with her fascination of identity and how we as humans present ourselves to the world. In her recent work, Memensis, Piontek wanted to not only question her own photography practice but also further delve into how other people’s images inform our ideas of the self. Piontek uses found imagery she then repurposes to create what she calls mini sculptures that are then photographed. The results present a somewhat infinite storyline: the viewer is able to create their own stories based on the stories that Piontek presents. We asked her about what being a fine artist means to her and about her experiences navigating through the fine art world. Read the full interview here.
Do you consider yourself a fine artist? If so, what have been your goals while working as such?
I would call myself a photographer or maybe a fine art photographer but for some reason I've been reluctant to consider myself a fine artist, although my work definitely has been taking a bit more a fine art direction in recent years.
That said, my goals are definitely "fine art goals", which means I'm looking for exhibition venues and finding opportunities to present it to a wider audience. And of course it's important to have a chance to talk about it, either by doing artist talks or in forms of interviews in blogs or magazines.
Do you have gallery representation? How have you been able to maneuver through the fine art world in terms of finding gallery representation?
Yes, I have a gallery representation.
It is part of the work as an artist to do the research, find out who could be a good fit, make connections and knock at doors. It's great when you find people who understand the work and support it but like for many other artists, promoting my work is not something that comes naturally for me. It is always a challenge and it's ongoing, it never stops because with the change in the work, the audience changes too.
How has working in the fine art world influenced your own work?
I would say it hasn't really influenced my work. I'm working on themes and projects that are interesting and meaningful to me. I get inspired by looking at other work and of course I'm aware of "trends" or what sells on the art market and while that might influence me on a subconscious level, it's nothing I incorporate strategically in my practice.